How to Clean Stove Burners With Ammonia And Zero Elbow Grease

Cleaning Stove Burners

Stove burners and stove burner pans are some of the most vexing things to clean in any kitchen. They are prone to both food spills AND high heats, which results in baked-on messes that are seemingly impossible to remove.

Cleaning Stove Burners

Before I got a nice, new gas stove a couple of years ago, I had a clunky old electrical range that suffered from the same issues I mentioned above. I eventually just started buying cheap packs of replacement stove burner pans at Walmart, because I could not for the life of me find an effective way to clean them. But once I got a nice new gas range, I knew I’d have to figure out how to get those parts clean, since they aren’t as easily replaceable as the burner pans had been. That’s when I discovered the ammonia method that I’ll be showing you today!

Using this method, I am able to clean all the removable parts of my stove without any serious scrubbing. It’s super simple, and I use it a couple of times a year to keep my stove looking clean and sparkly! For those of you who haven’t tried this method yet, you simply MUST. Period. One of the best tips I’ve ever come across on Pinterest, and that’s saying a LOT!

Cleaning Stove Burners

How To Clean Your Stove Burners

You’ll need:

  • Stove burner parts
  • Gallon-sized ziplock bags
  • Ammonia

Cleaning Stove Burners

Directions:

Pour a splash of ammonia into a ziplock bag. Then place one of your stove parts into the bag and seal it, and repeat until all the parts you want to clean are sealed up in bags. (You can put between a few parts in the same bag if there’s enough space.)

Cleaning Stove Burners

Leave the bags on your countertop overnight.

Cleaning Stove Burners

In the morning, pull the parts out of the bag and use a soapy sponge to wipe away the grease and grime.

If there are a few extra stubborn stubborn spots of grime, tackle them with a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and a little elbow grease. The baking soda/peroxide paste can also help polish the shinier parts and leave them looking sparkling clean.

Cleaning Stove Burners

Cleaning Stove Burners

I think the before-and-after pictures speak for themselves!

Cleaning Stove Burners

The only part that didn’t come quite as clean as I would have liked was the burner base. But as you can see in the before photo, the part was a little rusty already, so I think that contributed to it not coming as clean as the other parts. I’ll have to use something a bit tougher on that piece, but otherwise everything looked marvelous!

I was highly skeptical of this method before I tried it, but I’m so glad I did! Now it’s your turn! :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I’m VERY excited to try this method. When we moved I inherited quite an old electric stove. I have never been able to get the burners clean but I’m loath to replace it because it works great. I’m now confident that I will get the whole stove looking (retro but) brand new. Thanks Jillie! I can’t tell you how much useful information you have given to me from various posts! You’re the best thing I found on the internet!!!!

  • You can also clean your cookie sheets (as long as they are not non stick) in a xl large zip lock bag with a splash of ammonia leave it outside overnight and then just wash with soap and water. No scrubbing!

  • Thank you Jillee! The stuck-on grime that touched the ammonia flaked right off after I took it out of the bag but the parts that didn’t have some really tough grime left on them. I think next time I’m going to fill up a bucket and soak them that way to ensure everything is submerged.

  • All I can say is…WOW! Just bought a Mid-Century house, the stove is really awesome and would be amazing if I could clean the burners. So, I cleaned one burner, just to test this method.
    Do it!!!!! You will be so pleased!!!

  • Im throughly CONVINCED whoever made those burner bases, burners & the burner tops never cleans their stove!! Anyone else feel this? My stove, windows, shower tracks, behind the fridge & toaster are a few items I swear were made by men[sorry guys] or those who never clean lol
    I wish I would have known this about my new stove as my grates & burner tops are cast iron, which I thought would be easy to clean. The burner bases kill my fingers with scrapes & nicks trying to get in between the nooks & crannies- so frustrating! Using Mr Clean erasers while it works great on some areas,but gets disinegrated by the top(which is also where my hands get chewed up) Ive also used a wire brush which again does well in some areas but the one I have is a but too big. I am gonna for sure try your idea! Plus its much easier!

  • In your directions, when you say a “splash” of ammonia, it looks like you are pouring in enough to cover the items. Am I correct or just a splash will give off fumes, as well, to work the crud off?? Thanks, Jillee!

      • I have been using this method for years. I do not put the ammonia directly in the bag. I put all the parts in a garbage bag and then put the ammonia in a can inside the bag and tie the bag up over night. In the morning dump the ammonia out and wash the stove parts.

  • I’m currently cleaning my oven using the ammonia and hot water method that you blogged about, am I able to clean the stove top pieces at the same time using the ammonia and freezer bag method? Or will it leave the oven too wide open?

  • I read this method of cleaning the parts to the gas stove numerous times and was really skeptical. This past weekend, I gave it a try. Keep in mind that my stove parts were hideous in comparison to the ones displayed here. Anyway, I added each burner parts into it’s own ziploc bag, I poured about 1/2 cup (or less, not good with math) of ammonia and sat each bag in the sink. I sat them in the sink instead of on the counter in fear that the bags would explode overnight spilling the noxious ammonia all over my counter. In the morning when I opened the first bag, I was amazed visually at how much of the gunk was off of the parts. It took a little soap and water to clean off the rest. My stove parts now look like new again. I am truly amazed and am no longer a skeptic! You must try for yourself.

  • Handy hint for gas cooktops – if you find you get a thin layer of burnt on brown gunk around the gas elements, even though nothing has been spilt, it’s because your pot is too close to the burner. Not sure what that stuff is (some sort of burnt on gas residue?), but it’s sure hard to get off!
    Anyhoo, the answer is to use a wok holder or similar to lift the pot a bit higher up away from the flame and let more air circulate (I usually add a simmer mat as well to help disperse heat more evenly), so that the residue isn’t deposited in the first place. It doesn’t seem to affect the cooking time, and saves a lot of time, effort and cursing when it comes to cleaning :-)

  • This is the easiest and most effective method so have ever used!! If you are skeptical like so was, give it a try and you will be a believer like myself!

  • Tried this 2 years ago and have never done anything different since. It’s the most magical thing ever! My only added tip is too make sure you keep your face well away from that bag when you open it! I’d also open them outside!!!

  • I have used this method for years, a friends mom told me about it. We put the parts in a large garbage bag and this is outside. Then we leave it in the sun all day with shinning down on that hot black bag. Have used this also to clean racks in the oven or any other thing that’s in my oven that needs cleaning and can easily be removed.

  • This idea totally works. I have been doing it ever since. Make sure you use a well ventilated area because of the ammonia Fumes. The junk just slides right off.

  • Last week I used the Hydrogen Peroxide with baking soda on two burner pans [under the electric elements pans], that were quite black-brown with burned on I don’t know what—it took about 1.5 days, and I repeatedly sprayed H3O on the paste, but it took off bout 95% of the gookygoop. WOW I was impressed. Had I been more enterprising and knew how to use my iPHone cam, I would have liked to post before and afters, though not sure that is possible…

    Thanks Jillee for your tips. I’m currently decocting lemons and vinegar to make cleaner and I’m going Green, Bebes….already use sprayed vinegar and H3O in my toilet and it works great. —Stevie de Longmont CO

  • Can this also work on aa very nasty iron skillet, it is a family skillet don’t want to ruin it but it’s so gunked up, sticky outside.

    • A great way to clean a cast iron skillet is in a hot fire. We put our in the wood burning stove once each winter. It burns off all the nastys. You just have to re-season the skillet afterwards.

  • Any help on how to get melted plastic (a bread bag) off of a burner? I managed to turn the wong burner on… And no, I can’t just turn the burner on and burn the plastic off, with all the fumes it will put into the air. Help!!!

      • Any other ideas? I have a hard time believing that the ammonia will do anything to the melted (not burnt) plastic on the burner, since it doesn’t “eat” the plastic bag that the burner is put in. I have tried scraping it off–no luck. I’m going to try again–putting it in the noon sun to get it very warm (Actually, quite hot, I’m in Phoenix) on top of a paper sack, scraping what I can off, and then when cooler, attacking it with a rough plastic scrubber and baking soda. I’ll try to remember to let you know how it turns out…
        Does anyone kow if it is okay to use steel wool on an electric burner?

  • One other trick is just to put them in the oven when you run the self-cleaning setting. It also gets rid of every bit of gunk on all of those parts, and doesn’t leave your house smelling like ammonia!

  • I really want to try this but my burners are double the size shown here and won’t fit in a zip lock bag. They are twenty inches long. Help with any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • This is just a suggestion. Buy a plastic underbed storage container. Put the parts in this instead of plastic bags. Cover and let stand. The storage container can likely then be cleaned in a bathtub or shower the next morning.

      • I saw that on another site to use heavy-duty trash bags Maybe leaf and lawn size bags

    • Use a trash bag and twist tie it shut very tightly. Be careful not to puncture bag. I also have done this outside with our grill grates in the sun for several hours. Always open bag away from your face and let it air out so the fumes don’t get to you. Works really well on glass pie plates and white Pyrex. Not sure about patterned pieces.

    • Ziplock makes storage bags big enough that multiple blankets fit. Dollar stores have them also. Just make sure you have a good seal.

      Thank you Jillee! You have made so many things better for me by sharing your knowledge!!
      Such a huge blessing!

  • Any suggestions as how to get the stove top clean? I’ve tried pouring ammonia over the top and putting a huge trash bag but it didn’t work. And I don’t want to scratch the surface. Thanks.

    • I have used a razor scraper successfully on both glass and enamel cooktops. Use new blades and be a little careful and it shouldn’t scratch.

    • Not sure how long to leave it on but try wetting a paper towel or towels with ammonia, cover with plastic wrap or cut piece of trash bag and use painter’s tape around edges to seal.

  • I’m one of those annoying people who need more detailed instructions. Can you use sudsing ammonia? And is the amount like a half a cup per bag? I have the exact same burners pictured and I literally have nightmares when it comes time to clean them, which I never manage to actually get them completely clean. I’m looking forward to trying this. Thanks in advance!

    • Kelly, the amount of amonia doesn’t really matter; the fumes do all if the work. I actually like putting ALL of the parts in a gallon size rubermaid container with a lid and place it outside. The fumes are pretty strong for me so that’s my method of choice. I am not sure about sudsing amonia, but if it has the same amount if fumes it should be fine. This is absolutely the ONLY way to clean this stuff!

  • I love this deep cleaning tip. When you DO NOT do this type of DEEP CLEANING frequently, it really does build up!

    Hint for keeping it easy to clean — do this more than once every 10 years, more like every month or every quarter

    • Oh no! How long did you let it sit? How much ammonia did you use? I’ve used this method many times on many different stove burners – I know it works! :-)

  • I have an electric range and my pet peeve is burned on crud on the drip pans. My boyfriend and my former roommate both seemed to make those messes and then just ignore them!!! Since they never cleaned the drip pans I was always the one scrubbing them. I have carpel tunnel syndrome so that was becoming a real problem for me! I decided to try one of my bathroom tricks on the drip pans…after a good cleaning, I applied car wax to the pans! It works great. Now the burned on messes just wash right off with no scrubbing! It does have to be reapplied every so often, but that is still so much simpler than having to use all that elbow grease. And it does wonders for my frame of mind when I see something burned onto the drip pans!

    • What I resorted to was to clean them and use rubbing alcohol . let dry then paint them with high temperature spray paint. Let dry and respray them. The crud just washes off with very little scrubbing just soap and water………….Using the high temperature paint will prevent the paint from peeling……………

  • Well, I am sure that you now feel superior, don’t you????? Thanks SO MUCH for pointing out such an important thing like a little spelling error!

  • Whenever I can’t remove some baked on stuff I use my ceramic scrapers (made for those stove tops) I have a gas stove and they are a godsend for all sorts of stuff on surfaces you don’t want to scratch , as for the burners I just use a hard toothbrush and washing or baking soda , works pretty well . Recommend patience and elbow grease !

    • The ammonia is great for removing excess, gummed-up dirt on the vacuum cleaner parts. I have a stick vacuum which I used to remove a black tar substance that my dog brought in on her paws, and then wiped off onto my beige carpet. I sprayed stain remover on the carpet and vacuumed it up with the stick vacuum, which then required cleaning. Hence, I used the ammonia by putting the separate parts that come off of the wand, like the roller brushes, into a bag with ammonia, which is how Jillee instructed to clean the stove burner pans. In a couple of hours, I had a brand new vacuum. Thanks Jillee!!!

  • Hi Jillee,
    This is how I clean my stove top burner grates. Whenever I use the self cleaning feature on my double oven I place the grates inside. It totally burns everything off. At first they look gray but the next day they are black again. In between I place them in my dishwasher. It works pretty good also.

  • Thanks! I was just complaining about this exact thing this past weekend. Please update when you find something for the burner base. I am beyond frustrated with one of my burner bases!

  • I wish there were some stove top cleaning hacks you could use on a gas stove with grates that are two burners long and cast iron cause they do not fit in any zip lock bags .and I tried a diy idea for the inside racks once that said if they did not fit in the bag sugestested you could use a trash bag but no zipper I had a mess with amonia and all , and I am over 65 and have painful arthritis in my hands and I HATE CLEANING MY STOVE even though my HUSBAND seems to Love making it a mess. Any one got any ideas?

    • I’m not sure it would work on grates, but I have had great success soaking oven racks in the bathtub for several hours with four or five dryer sheets. I don’t know whether it’s any less wasteful or toxic than other methods, but it sure smells better!

    • There are super-sized Ziploc bags that would work for you! You can find them in the housewares department, usually with closet organizers.

      The bags are made for storing large items in closets, etc., and come in 3 huge sizes.

      I hope this info helps you!

    • I just put all of mine in a kitchen trash bag, add about a cup of ammonia, seal and set outdoors till the next day. Works fine and a lot less trouble that separate bags.

    • I have the same big burners, so why not put them in a trash bag with the ammonia and put it in the bath tub to soak. Use a tight rubber band or tie a good knot at the end.

  • i had something spill on the top of the stove (gas) and it got baked on.
    though i got most of the stuff off, there are some areas where there is a
    dull sticky area that won’t budge with what ever i have tried and i have tried
    everything! help!

    • …would vinegar overnight and baking soda on it do anything, in a sealed plastic bag? What about putting it in your self cleaning oven? What about that orange clean stuff overnight?

      • If all else fails try scraping off with a razor blade. Make sure you use the razor thats in a plastic holder so you have a better grip and less chance of cutting yourself.

      • I think the trick here with the burners sealed in a bag is that the ammonia fumes are doing the work.

  • How can you clean your burner when instead of 4 individual pieces, it is one long burner (I have a 5 burner stove)? No Ziploc bag is big enough. I tried securing in a trash bag, but the ammonia leaked out. Any suggestions?

    • It seems you could use the ziploc bags used for sweater storage? The ones you vacuum the air out of? Readily available at Home Depot, etc.
      After trying in vain to clean stove parts, I can’t wait to try this!

  • I run the stove top parts through the dishwasher ( my parts look the same as yours) first I rinse them in the sink to get the easy loose bits off. it’s easy to do so I do it often once a week usually. Easier for me and nothing extra to buy or do

  • This may work fine for the older model ranges with the smaller grates. My oven went out of my “old” range, which wasn’t worth repairing any longer! We were expecting a house full of guests the next day and using the oven was a must! We went to a local retailer and purchased a new range. I do not like black appliances due to the fact they show every little smudge, fingerprint, etc. Unfortunately, we needed a range NOW and there were no white-finished appliances available in the store. To make a long story short, I purchased the black-finished range and have regretted it ever since! The range top is very difficult to clean without the surface looking smeared and greasy! It also has more scratches on it than my 20 year range had in its lifetime! The slightest crumb scratches the surface! Any suggestions on cleaning this beast?

    I found some Chlorox Kitchen wipes , which help, but the range top still looks a bit smeared/greasy. It makes my kitchen look dirty, although I know it is not! The kitchen and bath are the cleanest rooms in our house!

    • I agree with you about black appliances, I miss my white stove top too. After cleaning I finish up with a spray of half water and half rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth to get the surface streak-free.

    • I keep a terry cloth wash cloth in the drawer next to my stove top. I wipe up the oily and greasy splatters whenever they happen with the dry cloth. Whenever I have the time, I give the stovetop a good cleaning, sometimes with a little window cleaner. This controls the greasy smears and my black stovetop always looks good. Hope this helps.

  • I love all of your helpful tips…I found this method about 2years ago….it works great and it’s super easy!!!!!! Thanks for all you post!!!!! Darlene Ritter

  • Great idea! Any suggestions on how to use this method to clean larger pot frames? Mine are two burner so barely fit in my sink, definitely not in a ziplock bag!

  • I have an imported Italian gas cooktop, and the cast iron grates are in rows, so obviously they aren’t going to fit in a plastic bag.

    As big a fan as I am of clear ammonia, I came across a solution to cleaning the grates that, for me, is THE easiest one I’ve ever used. It’s no worse, chemically speaking, than ammonia, and there is zero work involved.

    I use a container of Easy Off Oven Cleaner, the one in the BLUE can. I put the grates in a black trash bag, then spray the Easy Off on the grates, seal the bag, and put it out in the sun in the backyard. In a few hours (or more if they’re very greasy), I take them out, rinse them off, and voila. EVERYTHING is clean. No scrubbing, no fussy, no problems. CLEAN, grease-free, and looking brand new.

    I usually have a bunch of stuff to throw out, and I recycle the trash bag immediately by filling it up with whatever’s been hanging around.

  • Could this work on a slow cooker base if l put the ammonia in a contailer in the base and place the lot in a large bag and seal it,or would it damage the working

  • I’ve tried it with my gas stove grates – they’re more like a heavier wrought iron (not coated finish like yours). It didn’t work quite as well as the wrought iron has a rougher finish – like a gas grill. I hate these grates – beware if you’re buying a gas stove; they’re a lot harder to keep clean.

    • I have cast iron pan supports and found it impossible to clean off burnt on spills without removing part of the black coating.. After searching for an answer I couldn’t find! I tried this.
      I soak them overnight in the bath/tub putting a towel in first to protect the base from scratching..Fill enough hot water mixed with washing clothes liquid. Lay pan supports on towels. It worked! Lifted all the stuck on burnt food and grease.
      Toni.

    • Try Easy Off in the BLUE can. My grates are like yours. I put mine in a black trash bag, spray them in the bag with Easy Off, seal the bag and put it out for a few hours in the sun. When I go to rinse them, they’re perfectly clean, grease free, and nothing is stuck. They look brand new, no matter how bad they were before.

    • I use Dr Bronners on my stovetop. Mine is stainless steel but I’m sure it would work on your white top. Thoroughly wet the stovetop with hot water. Put a few drops of Dr Bronners on the stovetop and wipe the burnt on food or spills. Leave for 5 minutes or longer if needed, then wipe off. Works for me every time!

  • I live in an apartment and have tried this twice already on the stove parts for a gas stove. I think there are deep scratches on the grills. I hate to cook now since all my pots and pans are being scratched beyond repair. Should I purchase new grills or try this method a few more times?

  • I have been cleaning my gray gas stove parts like this for years! I don’t even splurge on ziplock bags. I just use my grocery store bags and tie them at the top! After leaving the parts in the bags for 5-6 hours, I scrub them with bar keepers friend and a toothbrush. Believe me, the scrubbing is just a formality because the baked on stuff comes right off! It is amazing! So satisfying to see my stove as clean as a brand new stove!

    • I use approximately 1/4 cup to the bag. Your goal is just to get great fumes from the ammonia. That’s what works on the baked on stuff and causes it to “lift” off.

      • So I am a bit confused with the amount of ammonia. I tried this method once, and put as much ammonia as I could into each bag. It didn’t work so well! Then I saw the post about cleaning the oven where you use ammonia in a warm oven so it will steam. Using that method worked great, so I’m now thinking I should put the Ziploc with the stove parts and ammonia outside in the hot sun for the afternoon? And it really only needs to be a small amount?

    • I don’t know because they have a chrome finish…but, I found aluminum foil drip pans online and at Walmart. I usually wipe them off or wash in the sink to prolong the use. I used them on top of the chrome drip pans.

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